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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Harry Newton Previous Columns
9:00 AM EDT, Tuesday, September 15, 2009: Today is the one-year anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. The financial system staggered, but did not collapse A year later there is one overriding conclusion -- Lehman's collapse will be good for the stockmarket. Let me explain:

Lehman Brothers was the greatest financial engineer our planet has ever known. It created a vast array of financial products, which institutions feasted on. Other investment banks followed Lehamn's lead and created "products" (you've heard me use that word before) of all varieties. Virtually all these "alternative investments" turned out bad. (Check out the Harvard and Yale endowments.) The alternative investments were not just 50% down in value, like the stockmarket last year. But many were 100% down.

The stockmarket has bounced back. Alternative investments haven't.

You can sell your stockmarket investments when they fall 15%. You can't sell your alternative investments. All you can do is to write them to $1. You write them down to $1 so they're still on your net worth statement. This way you remind yourself every day of what an idiot you were -- and what not to do again.

It doesn't matter whether the economy is going into a double W recovery. It doesn't matter what Professor Roubini, Professor Joseph Siegel (click here) and Bill Gross think about the economy.

What matters is we're stuck with billions of existing and incoming dollars which institutions must invest. They can no longer touch treasuries because they pay so little and the dollar is cratering. They can no longer touch bonds because they don't pay enough interest to compensate for their riskiness.

They are left with two choices:

1. Gold, and

2. Common stocks.

To gold. There are two easy ways to invest:

This is a simple ETF which reflects the price of gold.

There is a fund which invests primarily in companies engaged in exploration, mining, processing, or dealing in gold, or to a lesser degree in silver, platinum, diamonds, or other precious metals and minerals. Its top three holdings are Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Newmont Mining.. The theory is that mining companies benefit more from gold's rise in price. Assume it costs them $600 a produce an ounce of gold and gold is $800. They make $200. If gold goes to $,1000. They make $400 -- twice as much. But gold has gone up only 25%. Sometimes this maths works.

To common stocks. You don't want to own stocks with big debts. Their management has to focus on restructuring, renegotiating, revamping, etc. You want to own technology stocks that typically have oodles of cash and no debt. The list of virtually or completely debt-free technology stocks is endless -- from STEC to Intel, from Research in Motion (RIMM) to Apple, from Google to Cree.

Your job is to pick ones whose products you like: I like Apple, Google and STEC. I should like RIMM. Everyone else does. But I dislike their products and am in awe at their lack of innovation. That hasn't stopped RIMM from doubling since March.

My daughter's husband loves Vibram FiveFingers. My son-in-law, Ted Maloney loves to run. He emailed me.

After reading Born to Run, I changed my running style significantly to be more "barefoot-style," but I continued to run in my Asics. While running in that style I was able to run longer and actually much faster, though I didn't realize the latter until I did the run of a triathlon at a pace that was much faster than the pace at which I had previously run races.

I wanted to ease into the concept of barefoot or near-barefoot running and today was my first run with the Vibram FiveFingers. After much due diligence and trying on a number of styles in a number of stores, Michael and I decided on the Sprints. I went with the gray color and your more adventurous and socially confident son went with the fire engine red color.

The only thing between you and the ground in these Vibram FiveFingers is a sliver of moulded Vibram -- enough to protect your foot from stones, but not enough to provide any support whatsoever.

Today was my first run in the shoes and I chose my favorite run in the world for it, which is an 8.5 mile run through Woodstock and Pomfret, VT. It is VERY hilly and on a combo of cement (about 2 miles of it) and hard pack dirt with lots of loose, sharp rocks. So, it was a good all around test.

I loved them. But, I have a couple of items to consider. First, my calves are currently killing me. This is because, despite the fact that I'd changed my stride already, I felt compelled to run even more on my toes for the first few miles. One of the good things about doing a longer run is that nothing bad is sustainable, so I ended up going into a more natural stride where my heals did touch the ground, but not with much impact and quickly transitioned to my toes. So, I solved that after about three miles, which was right before a 1.5 mile stretch strait up hill.

The uphills in the VFFs were awesome. There's very little impact on uphill runs, so they just let you grip the ground and it feels great. And then came the downhills. This was the biggest problem. Downhills are where the large heel cushions of standard running shoes really allow you to fly down the hill, but it's also how people hurt themselves. I remember when I used to have knee problems, someone told me to do downhills backwards. So, I tried it in my VFFs. Worked like a charm. This is only necessary for very step downhills. More gradual downhills are fine.

I loved the experience overall and by the end of the run it felt totally natural. My calves are killing me, but I think I've solved that. I have a couple of blisters starting to form on the balls of my feet, but I actually think this is just the normal course of events with any new shoes. I highly recommend them.

There's a neat chart on running barefoot. Click here.

The world is changing exponentially. I'm repeating this because yesterday I got the link wrong. China and India have more bright people than we do. Alll the skills we used last year at our job will be obsolete in three years. You get the message. Facebook has more members than most countries. A video on YouTube explains all. Allegedly some managements play the video for their boards. Maybe it injects a sense of urgency? Click here.

Invention needed. "I wish someone would invent something to keep the sun out of my eyes."

Federer disappoints. Del Potro dominates. Roger was tired. Del Potro's forehand is probably the fastest in the game. Neat match. I wish I could play as well as those guys.

The logic of children
A salesman goes up to a house and knocks on the front door.

It's opened by a little twelve year-old boy who has a lighted cigar in one hand, a glass of whiskey in the other and a Penthouse magazine tucked under his arm.

Salesman: "Hello son. Is your mom or dad home ?"

Little boy: "Who do you think?"

When Obama talks on healthcare
+ "You know, I know the president is black, but this is not Showtime at the Apollo." --Bill Maher

+ "This is unprecedented. This does not go on in the halls of Congress when the president is speaking. Everyone was shocked. Nancy Pelosi was so shocked, she took out her compact and drew in her eyebrows all furrowed." –Bill Maher

+ What's so ironic is that the health care plan that Mr. (Joe) Wilson so angrily opposes would get him the prozac he so desperately needs." --Bill Maher

+ "Even though in his speech, Obama said, 'You lie, I'm not going to kill old people,' the next day Sarah Palin said on her Facebook page she still believes in death panels. You know what, Sarah, honey, if we were going to get rid of useless people, you would be the first to go." --Bill Maher

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.